Harrier Season Summary

This is intended as a guide for new club members for events organised at club and centre level as well as events open to the general public.

The harrier season runs from April to early October with the track and field season between October and March. Event dates are set out in the Winter Programme and should be checked in each Thursday’s Otago Daily Times for any changes.

  • Club events are open to Hill City–University club members. Trophies are awarded for club races.
  • Centre events are inter-club events which are open to club members who have registered as athletes with Athletics Otago. This entitles athletes to participate in Athletics Otago and Athletics New Zealand events and to be eligible for centre and national trophies. Centre events usually provide different distances for each grade (junior, senior, masters) however this guide will only refer to usual senior distances. Registration covers both the winter harrier season and the summer track and field season.
  • Open events are events for general public entry usually organised by a local athletic club. Registered runners may often obtain discounted race entry fee.

More information:

Club runs

These are the life-blood of the club and usually held every week of the season, even when centre and other events are being held on the same weekend. Club runs are social events with packs to suit all abilities. A creche is available. Make sure you bring a plate to restore the spent energy at the afternoon tea following the run! A great time to get to know your fellow club-members and be free to talk running, running, running without boring someone! There is also a Tuesday group which run all year from John McGlashan rugby grounds with other training and coaching also available.

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Dates and times can be found in the Hill City–University Programme.

Centre Races

Open to Registered Athletes (ie: Registered with Otago Athletics).

Club Races

Are our own club races, open to any Hill City–University member.

To enter a race, write your name in the Race Entries book at the clubrooms.

Club Runs

Social runs in packs depending on your preferred speed. Generally there is a slow, medium, fast, kids and walking pack. Usually for around 60 minutes. Meet at venue at 1.30pm. Afternoon tea after club run, bring a plate, tea and coffee provided.

King of the Mountain

Organised by Taieri club. 15km hill run up Whare Flat road, and back down forestry roads.

Papatowai Challenge

15.5km off road run in the heart of the Catlins including some bush and beach running and a bit of up and down hill work. Organised by Wayne Allen (Ariki) and friends.

Three Peaks Race

Flagstaff, Swampy Summit and Mount Cargill make for a tough wee 28km run, or can be run as a two person team event. Two familiarisation runs usually held in advance over the first and second halves of the course.
(Leith – Open)

Lovelock Relays

Commemorating 1936 Olympic gold medalist Jack Lovelock’s 1500m win in Berlin. Held on a grass track at the University Oval. Teams of four (women) and six (men). (University-Club/Centre) $10 race fee, please bring on the day. No pay, no run.

Karetai Challenge

A great little 16.5km hill run on the Otago Peninsula starting and finishing from the Shiel Hill Tavern.
(Ariki – Open)

Whitestone 10km & Half Marathon

Flat 10km and half marathon at Oamaru.
(North Otago Harriers – Open)

Ponydale Relays

Held at the 3 Mile Hill Pony Club. Approx. 1.5km women and 2.0km men. Teams of four (women) and six (men). (Leith-Club/Centre) Please bring your $10 Race fee on the day: No pay, no run.

Barnes Cross-Country

Approx. 5km men and 3.75km women handicapped cross country at Kettle Park. Undulating grassland and dunes near St Clair beach.

Christchurch Half Marathon and Marathon

Reputedly the fastest marathon course in New Zealand and held at Queens Birthday weekend every year.

TK Cowan Race

Handicapped event over 8km and 5km. Includes some hill work, golf links and beach running from the Tomahawk Hall. Trophy donated by a late club patron.

Edmond Cup Races

Held at Wingatui Race Course near Mosgiel. Approx. 9.6km men and 4.6km women. Steeplechase course with sod wall, two hurdles and a water jump.

Balclutha Half Marathon & 10km

Starts near Clydevale following the Clutha River before finishing at the Rosebank Lodge Motor Hotel on top of the hill at the southern end of Balclutha. The gradual downhill following the Clutha is a good opportunity to aim for a personal best time. The hotel spa can sometimes make up for the July weather.
(South Otago Harriers – Open)

Kennett Cup, Christchurch

Canterbury Cross Country.

Club Cross Country, Rotary Park

A handicapped cross country overlooking the city near Waverley. 5km course. Combined with Ariki.

Otago Cross Country Champs

Held at Waikouaiti Race Course. Approx. 8km men, 6km women including some short sharp hill work.

Colin Holmes Memorial Race

A handicapped undulating 10km run from the clubrooms, around Butts Road and the University.

Gorges Relay, Timaru

A highly recommended 8 person teams event for men, women, mixed, juniors, vets. Handicapped grades A to E setting off at 20 minute intervals through the beautiful Timaru hinterland with a variety of uphill, downhill and flat running. Option of a day trip in a club organised van or overnight for a weekend away.
(South Canterbury Harriers – Centre/Club)

Lap 1 – 8.5km; 2 – 8.5km; 3 – 7.3km; 4 – 11.0km; 5 – 6.2km; 6 – 7.9km; 7 – 7.6km; 8 – 9.7km.

Clyde to Alexandra

10km race starting at the top of the Clyde dam and finishing on the outskirts of Alexandra. A fast downhill start before reality sets in near Oliver’s at Clyde.
(Alexandra Harriers – Club/Centre)

Otago Road Champs

A handicapped and scratch race option over 10km. Usually held on the 2.5km Wharf circuit.

Peninsula Relay

A classic 8 person team relay starting at John Wilson Drive, St Kilda Beach and proceeding over the peninsula Highcliff Road before descending to Portobello and returning along the Harbour road to finish near the Leith estuary.

Lap 1 – 4.2km; 2 – 3.2km; 3 – 4.7km; 4 – 6.9km; 5 – 3.5km; 6 – 5.0km; 7 – 8.7km; 8 – 4.0km.

Moro Marathon and Half Marathon

The marathon starts near Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula followings the picturesque Otago Harbour and finishes at Port Chalmers.
(Caversham – Open)

Port Chalmers to Dunedin Race

The undulating course follows the old road from Port Chalmers before joining the state highway near Ravensbourne and finishing at Logan Park. At 12km handicapped race which celebrated its 100th year in 2002.

Hill Free Marathon & 10km Run & Walk

A major fundraising event for Hill City–University. Flat running from Outram. All club members are strongly encouraged to help in the running of this event.

National Road Relay

A great opportunity to match club teams (8 person senior and 6 junior) against the best in the country. Location changes each year.

Kelly’s Canter

Steep 3.6km up and down run to the Palmerston monument.

Spring and Autumn Fun Runs

A series of 5km fun runs organised by Hill City for profile and fund raising.

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  • Club – an association of persons united by a common interest working together for the benefit all members under the umbrella of the club.
  • Handicap – race in which chances of competitors are made more nearly equal by giving a later start time to the fastest runners. The slowest runner will start on “go and others at progressive intervals until the fastest runner who will start on “scratch”.
  • Handicapper – person setting the handicaps – in Hill City–University a person beyond reproach, impervious to bribes and (belying a sensitive nature) a hide as thick as a rhino. (Donations welcome. Visa/Mastercard/Amex accepted.)
  • Race book – You must enter your name in the race book if you intend to run any centre events. Entries will generally close a week or so before each event. Race entries are also required for club events where numbers are required to make up teams for relays, set handicaps or organise transport.

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Hill City was formed in 1982 by the amalgamation of three existing clubs, Dunlaidir (formerly Anglican which was formed in about 1905-06), Presbyterian (1946) and Mornington. Those clubs contributed a wealth of history and experience which has ensured that Hill City has maintained a prominent place in Otago Harriers and Track and Field events as well as contributing to the administration of Athletics in Otago.

Recently University Harriers joined the Hill City Club to form Hill City–University.


Distance running was considered the preserve of men with attempts to physically eject women competing in the New York marathon being a catalyst for women being permitted to run that event in early 1970’s. Hill City’s Sue O’Sullivan was instrumental in women being permitted to run the Port Chalmers to Dunedin Road race in the early 1980’s. Sue won that event in the first year that women were formally permitted to run the race (and afterwards sat on the side of the road breast feeding one of her sons, so the story goes). The club has been fortunate to be well represented in both men’s and women’s running in local, national and international events.